Celebrating the festive season, Hong Kong Disneyland presents the first-ever in-park live orchestra performance, with the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra (HK Phil) recognised as Asia’s foremost classical orchestra, conducted by Chiu Tsang Hei. For two nights only, all park guests are invited to gather in front of Hong Kong Disneyland’s Castle of Magical Dreams for this free performance.

Without a doubt, the Hong Kong Philharmonic most effectively handle the traditional classical repertoire within this 45-minute performance, including a fine and delicate performance of Dukas’ The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (1897) and highlights from Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker (1892). Both are well-known to Disney fans from the concert classic Fantasia (1940), and it is a treat to see Sorcerer Mickey on stage beside the orchestra, using his magic to make the fountains around the Castle of Magical Dreams burst with each synchronised cymbal crash.

However, the orchestra do not handle the contemporary Disney material with the same panache. Opening with a brief suite from Disneyland’s “Fantasmic” show seems an odd choice, given the show is not performed at Hong Kong Disneyland, and the orchestra gets off to a rocky start, with tuning and timing issues, particularly in the strings.

Furthermore, getting the acoustics right for such an enormous ensemble, in a large outdoor venue, is perhaps asking Hong Kong Disneyland’s technical crew to bite off more than they can chew, for a first-time event such as this: the sound is amplified and loud, but not warm enough to keep out the night chill.

Playing 3 – 4 December 2021 at Hong Kong Disneyland.

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